Summary: The analysis of the vision of Christ as set forth in Revelation 1:12-20 teaches us about the glorified Christ.
We are currently in a series of messages titled, “Christ’s Message to the Seven Churches,” that is based on the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation.
Previously, we looked at the prologue of Christ’s revelation, Christ’s greeting to his churches, and Christ’s messenger on Patmos. Today, I would like to look at Christ’s message to his churches.
Let’s read about Christ’s message to his churches in Revelation 1:12-20:
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:12-20)
Pastor Bob Petterson of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Naples, FL tells the story of the Venetian adventurer, Marco Polo. His Italian mother named him after the gospel writer, Mark, in the hopes that he too would proclaim the gospel. But 13th century Europeans found it impossible to believe Marco’s tales of faraway lands. He claimed that, when he was only seventeen, he took an epic journey lasting a quarter of a century, taking him across the steppes of Russia, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, the wastelands of Persia, and over the top of the world through the Himalayas. He was the first European to enter China. Through an amazing set of circumstances, he became a favorite of the most powerful ruler on planet earth, the Kublai Khan. Marco saw cities that made European capitals look like roadside villages. The Khan’s palace dwarfed the largest castles and cathedrals in Europe. It was so massive that its banquet room alone could seat 6,000 diners at one time, each eating on a plate of pure gold.
Marco saw the world’s first paper money and marveled at the explosive power of gunpowder. It would be the 18th century before Europe would manufacture as much steel as China was producing in the year 1267. He became the first Italian to taste that Chinese culinary invention, pasta. As an officer of the Khan’s court, he travelled to places no European would see for another 500 years. After serving Kublai Khan for 17 years, Marco began his journey home to Venice, loaded down with gold, silk, and spices.
When he arrived home, people dismissed his stories of a mythical place called China. His family priest rebuked him for spinning lies. At his deathbed, his family, friends, and priest begged him to recant his tales of China. But setting his jaw and gasping for breath, Marco spoke his final words, “I have not even told you half of what I saw.”
Though 13th century Europeans rejected Marco’s stories as the tales of a liar or lunatic, history has proven the truthfulness behind the book he wrote about he saw – The Travels of Marco Polo.
1,300 years before Marco Polo wrote about China, another man, the Apostle John, wrote a book about what he saw that seems too astonishing to believe. And yet history will also prove the truthfulness of what he wrote. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to John is a truly astonishing piece of literature.
The analysis of the vision of Christ as set forth in Revelation 1:12-20 teaches us about the glorified Christ.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Glorious Appearance of Christ (1:12-16, 20)
2. The Worshipful Response to Christ (1:17a)
3. The Reassuring Message of Christ (1:17b-19)
I. The Glorious Appearance of Christ (1:12-16, 20)
First, let’s look at the glorious appearance of Christ.
John received the revelation of Jesus while on the island called Patmos. Each part was not intended to be isolated from the whole. It was the whole picture that gave majesty and beauty to the vision, much like the entire rainbow is beautiful.